Chip Huston, Executive Director of the local Habitat chapter for the past 14 years, noted they have now built 152 homes in Chester County. 46 of these are in Coatesville with the remainder in West Chester. 
Habitat homes are good for the community, adding an average of $3,600 to the tax base. Much of the construction materials  are bought locally, supporting and expanding our local economy. Perhaps more importantly, they provide housing to those we depend on for many basic services and to fill lower income jobs in a county with a large and growing housing affordability issue. Finally these new homes often provide a stabilizing influence to neighborhoods that could easily slide into poor condition. 
The homeowners are selected through a rigorous process. They are low income, have a history of paying their bills, and must pass tests after taking classes on home maintenance and personal finance. The typical Chester County Habitat buyer has a household income between $25,000 and $50,000, versus the average county income of $84,000. 
The secret to making the homes affordable is building simple three bedroom designs in the 1500 square foot size range without garages; combined with creative financing using a combination of first and second mortgages. The goal is to keep total monthly housing costs at 30% of income which is about $800. Buyers are reducing their housing costs from the typical $1300 rent required for a single bedroom apartment, helping them better afford the other costs of living in Chester County. 
Habitat is getting close to final approval for a new 40 home development in West Grove to be placed on 6.8 acres. These 40 homes will cost a total of about $5 million when completed. Like all Habitat for Humanity homes they will be provided to their new owners after they complete training and supply at least 200 hours of volunteer labor for its construction. Like all Habitat homes they are designed to fit into their local neighborhood. In this instance that means building blocks of five townhomes, a first for Habitat locally. The other first with the West Grove development is using the US Department of Agriculture as a source of funding, possible because of the location. It means the mortgage interest rate is expected to be in the one to two percent range.
Building is expected to start in the June 2019 time range and take 4 to 6 years to complete.